If you’re a regular reader at our humble, little corner of the web, you know how much we admire journeyman-actor Eric Roberts around this neck of the wilds of Allegheny County. Yes, we will sit through a Lifetime damsel-in-distress movie—their Stalked by My Doctor franchise, now up to part 3—for our Eric Roberts fix. We’ll even watch Hallmark holiday movies (A Husband for Christmas and The Great Halloween Puppy Adventure) for our Eric Roberts blow with a shot of David DeCoteau.
Yes, that love goes even deeper into the celluloid thickets when Eric teams with our favorite directors, such as David DeCoteau (Bigfoot vs. D.B. Cooper, A Talking Cat), along with Mark Polonia (Amityville Death House) and Mark L. Lester (Hitman’s Run, Groupie, and Public Enemies). We even streamed Fred Olen Ray’s Boggy Creek: The Series on series on Amazon Prime just to listen to Eric’s voiceover narration. And Eric worked with Kent Wakeford (Power 98), the cinematographer on Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, and the Blaxploitation classic Black Belt Jones.
But how is it that across Eric’s 523 credits — with 60 more films in various stages of filming and pre-and-post production — Fred Olen Ray hasn’t done a live-action film with Eric? Eric’s not only done a Christmas movie with David DeCoteau (again, A Husband For Christmas), he’s made 14 movies with David DeCoteau*. How is it that Eric hasn’t appeared in at least one of Fred’s 11 X-Mas flicks?
Eric Roberts in a Fred Olen Ray movie . . . that would be the best X-Mas for Sam and I — ever. Even that Christmas when I got the Aurora Xcelerator race track. Even that Christmas when Becca gave Sam a Mayhem t-shirt.
However, until that dream Olen Ray-Roberts project comes to fruition, there’s more than enough Eric Roberts flicks to enjoy. These days, Eric’s a journeyman actor who truly enjoys traveling around the country helping helping both established filmmakers (but a bit down-and-out these days) and budding storytellers market their films. Some of the films from those undiscovered filmmakers that we’ve reviewed include The Arrangement, Angels Fallen, Clinton Road, and Lone Star Deception.
I know. I know. Off-the-rails with Eric Roberts love. Get back to the movie.
And to that end: Eric ended up in Asheville, North Carolina, to lend a thespian hand to screenwriter James Blankenfeld and director James Suttles. Blankenfeld is an established production assistant and cameraman (The Apprentice, Project Runway) making his feature film debut as a screenwriter with The Evil Inside Her. James Blankenfeld brings a more established career to the set as a cinematographer with his twenty-credits deep resume on a variety of indie shorts and features, as well as a half-dozen directing credits — with The Evil Inside Her as his third feature film.
Hopefully, based on that production pedigree, ye streamers of the digital divide will be inspired to watch, knowing that you’re getting production values above the usual norms for low-budget streaming movies and Roberts “starring” flicks, in general.
As with most of the films in his mindboggling oeuvre, we go into The Evil Inside Her with the knowledge that Eric’s role will be a small one (and sometimes, a pivotal one; it is, here), while the “lead actors” are unknown, mostly amateurs from the local theatre community who, while they give it their all, offer up the occasional awkward, strained moments.
As you can tell from the theatrical one-sheet, this is another in a long line of “cabin in the woods” thrillers about a group of 20-somethings’ vacation stay gone wrong, ala Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead. And James Blankenfeld knows we’ve been in these foreboding woods before, with its wide array of home invasion sieges-by sexual deviants (Dead by Dawn and Cry for the Bad Man), flat-out demon possession (Reawakened), disturbed J or K-Horror onryōs, shiryō, or yūreis (0.0 Mhz), or their Euroized, yulyeong (hair ghost) counterparts (Evil River). Blankenfeld intelligently bypasses the “from the beyond” hocus pocus or supernatural deus ex machina tomfoolery. There’s no Paul Naschy out-of-left field zombie seige (Horror Rises from the Tomb). There’s no centuries-dead malevolent witch connected to trinkets. No basement-hidden reel-to-reel tape players. No bogus necronomicons. And, most importantly, there’s no “lone survivor” doped up in a hospital bed flashing us back with tortured dreams.
What Blankenfeld gives us, in a refreshing twist-of-the-keyboard, is an ominous, dapper chap that calls himself Clayton: but I like to refer to him as “The Chemist.” Yep, you guessed it: Eric Roberts, in a role that, for me, plays as a sequel, prequel, or sidequel to his ambiguous role as the foreboding “The Pitchman” in The Arrangement (released this month to streaming platforms).
When The Evil Inside Her opens, “it” has already been released: we see a daughter slaughter her elderly father over breakfast, which leads us to the opening titles montage of news clippings about a rash of unexplained domestic violence murders: suddenly for no reason, people snap and murder their friends and family.
The “reason” is The Chemist . . . and he’s using society as his personal lab. His newest lab rat is Vikki (Melissa Kunnap; good here in a spiraling, slow burn), doped-up at the local coffee shop on the way to the cabin: she begins a campaign of self-mutilation that progresses to murder in quick succession. As with The Pitchman in The Arrangement: The Chemist is Hell’s Geppetto, a bizarro Alfred Lord Tennyson pushing a little wonder drug that “helps” man see in the world what he carries in his heart: repressed immorality, anger and rage toward his fellow man. The Chemist removes one’s inhibitions to be their true selves: cold blooded killers.
Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die.
On a release rollout since the spring of 2019 on DVD, VOD, and PPV in the worldwide marketplace, The Evil Inside Her is now available as a free-with-ads stream on TubiTv. You can learn more about the film with this interview from director James Suttles at Scared Stiff Reviews. You can also visit the film’s official website and SuttleFilm.
Disclaimer: We weren’t provided an advanced screener or a review request by the film’s PR company, distributor, or director. We discovered this film all on our own as we went down an Eric Roberts-IMDb rabbit hole looking for online streams of his films. We genuinely enjoyed the movie.
* For the Roberts-DeCoteau-Roberts completists, the rest of their resume:
Bonnie & Clyde: Justified
Doc Holliday’s Revenge
Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft
Snow White: A Deadly Summer
Wolves of Wall Street
The Wrong Mommy
The Wrong Roommate
The Wrong Teacher